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Hug a hoodie? I think most criminals need understanding, but before this, we need protection and to feel safe from crime.

What crime group will Cameron wrap his arms of love around next? Pet a paedo?

That's a stupid comment Chad. I hope other people commenting on this thread will ignore it.

Cameron is clearly following this site's AND THEORY here and the Editor should give him more credit for doing so. The police reform and prison building policies are tough, traditional policies. The family may be one way of acting against the causes of crime but we should also welcome what the leader is going to say about strengthening the voluntary sector. Good charities that are championed by IDS' Centre for Social Justice should be helping our country's most vulnerable people from ever getting on to Oliver Letwin's conveyor belt to crime, and government should be helping them. Mr Letwin's influence on the Tory leader is clearly evident in this cspeech as in much else that David cameron says and does.

It is a shame that ConsHome was not given the speech like the main newspapers. It appears that the leadership is not internet friebdly enough (yet).

No he is not and that is the problem.

A message that clearly states that protection from crime is the number one aim combined with the need to focus on rehabilitation etc is what 'and' is all about.

Cameron is consistently focussing on the fluffy part of the message at the expense of the traditional part, creating imbalance.

It's about balance, not being nice.

If someone from the Liberal/Left had expressed the Hoddie comments that DC has, he/she would have been greeted with hoots of derision, by most of the Tory Party.
I see the Guardian has a piece by Jenni Russell on immigration that you should mention editor, its full of praise for the Conservative policy on immigration.
Be afraid be very afraid.


The 'Hug a Hoodie' phase is Labour spoiler tactics, from what I can see he is making the sensible statement that demonising all teenagers wearing hooded clothing - Tony Blair's Respect agenda built round calling them "yobs" " thugs" etc. and spreading ASBOs like confetti - isn't the way to resolve the problem. Crime prevention is as important as catching & punishing/reforming criminals.

Until I hear the speech I've no idea whether I agree or disagree as all I've heard so far has been from lealks heavily influenced by pre-judgement. An agenda built round strengthening the family, the importance of good male role models etc has much to commend it.

People who commit crimes deserve no sympathy. They know what they are doing is wrong because they wouldn't like it done to them. Many people grow up suffering from neglect but don't choose to take out their misery on others.

That said I can understand the emphasis on how broken families created stunted lives. We should certainly aim to mend the situation that creates such misery. But it shouldn't be used as an excuse to try and "understand" people who have no self-control and do something they know to be wrong.

Inside a lot of hoodies are kids who lack self-worth and aspiration.

Cameron is right to say that.

If kids haven't got the support and love in their family lives then they struggle to value themselves, to want and expect better for themselves, to achieve a good education, a career etc.

The hoodie culture is a way of young people creating a sense of belonging and peer support, which perhaps they don't have at home or in school.

The problems lie with the anti-social behaviour associated with hoodies - it's an identity which only perpetuates their social exclusion.

David Cameron has undermined all the good work Ian Duncan Smith has done in setting up the CSJ, with one ill judged and misguided publicity stunt.

Hugging a hoodie may go down well in millionaires row and Lib Dem circles. But the vast majority of people will see this as a slap in the face for ordinary men and women living in communities plagued by lawlessness in New Labour's Britain.

CCHQ Spy, I'm glad to see that someone else has actually read what Cameron said, as opposed to basing their opinions on this speech around the tabloid headlines.

Not all people that wear hoodies are criminals, not even the majority of them. Many teenagerds and young people wear hoodies simply because they're comfortable and don't make them look like "a grown up".

What Cameron is suggesting is that the volunteer sector needs to have a bigger role in helping children develop. The fact is the latch key kid is now practically the norm in a lot of areas, and therefore parent child contact time is limited. In the US organisations like Big brothers Big Sisters of America have proven through their mentoring schemes that they can help children before its too late. The key to solving the issue of youth crime in this country is preventing it, not trying to treat it when someone has already committed a crime.

Richard, you are completely right that people who commit crimes deserve no sympathy, but the current attitude towards hoodies isn't anti-crime its anti-youth, and is based around pre judging someones personality due to an item of clothing. I 18 and I've never worn a hoodie, I just prefer a nice jacket, but that doesn't mean I couldn't possibly be a violent thug.

What DC is saying is quite right - young people are demonised for being young people, except the young people we know personally who are somehow different.

As a teacher I get this all the time; people think a group of teenagers wearing hoodies is disturbing unless they happen to know one of them.

Most people in the prison system have got there via the appalling state care system. Most of them have enormous problems that the dead hand of state intervention is uninterested in solving. If the Conservative party can root it's desire to 'hug a hoodie' in the context of helping families work it will make a huge difference to the daily lives of millions of people, many of whom live in places the overwhelming majority of the readers of this site wouldn't beleive existed in Britian in 2006.

Certainly the justice system needs to be robust in defence of our right to enjoy the Queen's Peace, but we are much more likely to achieve that with positive attitudes to young people and more involvement of the voluntary sector in changing lives. If this is allied to more prison places for recidivists and a massive increase in drug treatment programmes there is a chance of things improving.

The knee jerk reaction of whipping young thugs into submission is a pointless and ultimately hopeless exercise. IDS realised this and I really hope he will make some radical suggestions that the party will have the courage to accept. I fear though that this is asking too much of many party members.

Just remember that as you bash hoodies you alienate their parents, grandparents, extended families. Some of these might, just might, be decent people (who do sometimes vote) - or do the blazeratti of the Tory heartlands now visit the presumed sins of sons upon their fathers?

Let's all hug a hoodie! And then get punched for the effort.

Cameron is branching out here, but he must not let it seem that there is a softening on the punishment aspect of crime. Rather, the idea of "hug a hoodie" should be as a method of prevention rather than adopting yet another Guardian opinion.

I fear though that this is asking too much of many party members.

Then join another party.

If we could go back to 1985 and compare what is now developing as Tory social policy, with what Ken Livingstone was then saying, would you spot the difference?

Amazing the Red Ken 'heresy' is now becoming Tory dogma, who would have believed it!

"Richard, you are completely right that people who commit crimes deserve no sympathy, but the current attitude towards hoodies isn't anti-crime its anti-youth, and is based around pre judging someones personality due to an item of clothing."

I understand what you mean - I myself wear a hoodie and would be rather irritated if someone thought I was a criminal. But on the other hand I can forgive people their prejudices on this matter for the reason I nicked from a blog (http://andymayer.blogspot.com/) that one of Guido's posters linked to:

"We don't have time to be understanding or assess whether the gang of hooded youths hanging out on the corner of our street are harmless while walking home late at night. Generally you're going to avoid them. And that's rational. The benefit of not being prejudiced 19 times out of 20 is rather small compared to the cost of being wrong once and mugged...If the uniforms didn't matter, if the issue was just irrational prejudice against young people we might expect people to flee in terror from the hoards of day-glo European teenagers who periodically descend on the capital. They don't. There are plenty of other examples of styles of youth dress that don't engender negative reactions or fear."

I think there's just a whiff of over-reaction here. The vast majority of young people wearing hoodies are entirely law-abiding, a fair number cause inadvertent fear but have no malign intentions, and a small minority use the hoodies as a cover for crime.

Let's get a sense of perspective here, please.

Then join another party.

Why Phil? I would rather stay and argue my case and hopefully persuade people that a connected policy agenda is both consistent with conservatism and, more importantly, in the interests of the country. Not sure what your comment was supposed to mean.

My name is Steve Albury not Chad Noble so I won't be swapping parties or creating my own every few months!

oops, there goes my anonymity.

We don't have time to be understanding or assess whether the gang of hooded youths hanging out on the corner of our street are harmless while walking home late at night. Generally you're going to avoid them.
Yes, I can agree with you on this point, but demonising every youth wearing a hoodie who sets foot in a shopping centre is completely different, and its is that which is always in the headlines. Personally on my walk/stagger home at night I try to avoid all people on the quieter roads, in my view I'm far more at risk from a lone maniac than I am from a gang of kids who are trying to find enough money between them to buy a pack of cigarettes.

What I was trying to say was that Cameron's speech wasn't about talking criminals to our hearts but taking the youth of today to our hearts. His choice of hoodies is regrettable I admit, because of the negative attitude so many people often unjustifiably hold against them.

The type of education on sensitive issues given to teenagers these days is poor on so many levels. My school did the standard drugs education program where you watch a video, had a visit from a policeman and the standard lecture from our teacher on the evils of drugs. The result is that most of the school has smoked cannabis at some point, or done harder drugs. Teenagers don't listen to teachers, they are either hated figures of authority who they try to disobey at every opportunity, or they are pretty easy going and consequently the students ignore them.

My school recently changed to using peer education programs where students in the 6th form taught drugs and sex education the lower years. I helped out in a couple of these sessions (Where teachers are not present) and I was amazed to see that the people we were teaching were actually listening and responding appropriately to the things we were telling them. The use of non-authority figures to teach people things will always be more sucessful, but you don't give youths a chance to rebel against a known power.

Hi KB,

Oops there goes another personal attack! As I noted to Annabel, you've experienced five leaders in just 9 years, more than all the other main parties added together. I'm sure you can excuse me seeking to catch up!

Schein und Sein - appearance and reality. Don't forget monks wear hoods! I would like the tories to listen to people like Shaun Bailey, who works with inner city youths, before pontificating too much on this subject.
As in so many areas, let us find positive things to occupy the young, eg sport, car and bike maintenance, apprenticeships etc

I agree David, today's hoodies are yesterday's skinheads and punks. I grew up with skins and punks thanks to my older brother being a bonehead, and I remember one mother commenting that they were a very polite bunch (not like nasty 'casuals' who were the knife carriers on the whole).

However, it is undoubtedly an intimidating uniform and intentionally so, even if the individual is simply fitting in with the crowd with no criminal intent.

That said, try telling the local Asian family who keep getting bricks thrown their windows or the old ladies or families who feel intimidated. It is vital to send out the correct message, and that should be that we will protect you from crime first, then look at the causes of crime second, and Cameron's initiative has been widely reported (and not just in the Labour press) as focused on the latter, instead of the former.

Certain teen images become synonymous with crime, and today that is the hoodie. How can we change that? Perhaps the message should be aimed equally at the hoodies and should be that even if it is not intended, their uniform intimidates many, so why not meet the rest of us halfway and just lower their hoods?

At least that would balance the 'hug a hoodie' message to reassure people that the Tories are not going soft on crime.

Chad, I won't be able to read your response for a bit (I need to go out and beat up some OAPs... and get some overtime) but please do tell me how £15 Billion Prison building plans and police reform so that more police are out fighting crime rather than filling out forms are signs that he simply wants us to embrace "thugs".

Oops there goes another personal attack!

yeah, it was a cheap shot but for some reason I couldn't resist it :-)


If they wore these they wouldn't need hoods

This will go down like a brick in all those estates menaced by hoodies. Cameron is just demonstrating what a sheltered aristo he is. Luckily we still have Labour who are prepared to hand out ASBO's (which are very popular with people who have to live with the hoodie menace, as it's been the only thing in the past 25 years that has offered a measure of relief on those estates).

"Oops there goes another personal attack! yeah, it was a cheap shot but for some reason I couldn't resist it :-)

:-) no problem, I quite enjoy it!

One question for you though; if Cameron is so keen to embrace and understand hoodies, why did he go to such lengths to alienate them by slamming their preferred choice of music just a few weeks ago?

By inviting compassion for hoodies Mr Cameron is not saying that everything some hoodies do (or listen to) has to be endorsed as well, Chad. There's no inconsistency.

Anti-social music, weak families and under-resourced voluntary groups are all some of the things that lead hooded young people on to the conveyor belt to crime.

I would rather stay and argue my case and hopefully persuade people…

You won’t do this by sneering at them or adopting a superior tone ("this is asking too much of many party members"). Too many – not all – Cameron supporters really only ‘come alive’ in debate when they attacking people to their right; or, more accurately, a stereotype of the right (witness the silly guy above twittering on about blazers).

Thus you make some valid points but then say:

“The knee jerk reaction of whipping young thugs into submission is a pointless and ultimately hopeless exercise”.

But hardly anyone in the real world talks or even thinks of whipping people – even thugs - into submission. Such phrasing is usually a graunoid’s way of sniggering at the supposed bigotry and lack of understanding that he thinks is typical of ‘middle England’; but it actually reveals more closed-mindedness in the user than in those it defines. And we don’t need to ingratiate ourselves with graunoids…

By all means argue and debate with the right but do so without resort to stereotype, and let us keep focused (as we all should be) on the real and common enemy to the Left. A parliamentary opposition is a form of constitutional rebellion. We should be doing everything we can to destroy the moral and intellectual self-confidence of the Labour government, and Cameron and his most earnest supporters need to do more in developing that attack.

The message that you shouldn't judge someone by the clothes they wear is right.

But the nonsense that pulling up the hood is anything other than to conceal identity and present an intimidatory image is risible.

Last week in Liverpool is was over 30 degrees, backing hot sunshine and all over town there were gangs of youths with hoods up.

I will need a great deal of convincing that wearing a hoodie is a sign of low self esteem. The hoddie is part of modern cultural artefacts.

There is a huge difference between hoodie wearers and the casuals of my youth. For a start the casual concept was about clothes and not necessarily fighting and intimidation (although part of it, I confess). Casuals didn't just hang about street corners or on estates, we went to away football and any associated violence was targeted at other casuals and not innocent pensioners etc.

Social structures were much greater even as short ago as the 80s. Corporal punishment at school, stigma from truency, family breakdown etc all existed.

These props have gone and if DC wants to address what he sees as the problem then there are some major major policy issues he needs to lay out. All of which are likely to alienate the Guardian reading classes he is cultivating.

Perspective is right, but we shouldn't necessarily accept any glib comment to come out of the Leader's Office. CCHQ has briefed the media that the message is Hug a Hoodie. The rest of the tough message is completely lost by the quality of the media briefing. It may just be that CCHQ want this more liberal message to be the focus of our criminal policy.

As for the use of the voluntary sector. I agree it has a place. The concept of compassionate conservatism in the US is based firmly on religious groups assuming welfare responsibility. Replicating that in the UK would be very difficult and may lead to greater levels of dislocation and divisions.

Hugging a hoodie may go down well in Lib Dem circles.

Not with me. It just seems like more paternalism. There's no need to demonise young people, but equally well no need to make a fuss about how much you understand them - just quietly go about enforcing the law as it should be, properly and with sufficient resources, and imaginatively but without Labour's dodgy gimmicks. Cameron just makes too much fuss about these things - pontificates is the right word. I can see why he does it, but it's not attractive.

Does anyone know what time the speech is due to be delivered? After all the interpretations put on the 'pre speech spin' it will be interesting to see what he actually says.I very much hope that he puts some credible solutions forward and that this speech is not as superficial as some of the media are implying it will be.

The trouble with the 'let's understand the root causes ' approach is that those saying it never really mean it.

A root cause of lawless kids are inadequate parents who can survive and and maintain a socially destructive lifestyle paid for by benefits and state handouts.The taxpayer funds the welfare state which in turn subsidises lifestyles that lead to social breakdown.

When communities are self-regulating (as opposed to being regulated by the State) stigmatisation of anti-social behaviour keeps people and standards in line. It is harsh but it works

Everyone's aware that this is mere political posturing (sorry, positioning). We're told almost every day that David Cameron is trying to rebrand the Tory Party. So why does anyone take anything he says as a genuine statement of his beliefs?

Cameron and his kitchen cabinet decided that a statement in favour of hoodies would be good as part of his rebranding exercise. I really don't think there's anything more to it than that.

Even by Dave's normal standards of stupidity, this takes some beating. It may seem a nice, liberal PR move to the Cameroon inner circle, but I can tell you it will go down like a lead balloon both within our Party and without. Congratulations, Dave, I had though that I would quietly step down as an elected Councillor of our Party next May. This absurdity on top of everything else that you have done to insult genuine Conservatives like me and the people that I represent who desperately need a decent, effective alternative to the political correctness of New Labour has moved me one very definite step closer becoming an Independent.

Quite right, Malcolm. As ever with Cameron, the problem is "Where's the beef?" If he is going to do anything constructive about these issues, he will have to offend the Guardian-reading classes.....which on past form is not likely.

Interesting response to Nick Robinson's blog on this subject - asking readers to suggest DC version of "lipsmackin, thirst quenching etc." - a mix of responents obliging with rhymes poking fun but quite a few attacking the spin Labour put on this (hug a hoodie - Jonathon Mackie do you really think this was CCHQ's precis?) and Nick Robinson for presenting DC as all spin/no substance.

As for no substance - DC rather sensibly pushed Blair on Afghanistan last week - PM replies no requests for more forces - this week a further deployment rushed out.

When reading about this speech on Sunday, I decided not to "fly off the handle" and make a knee-jerk response straight away. I am glad that I took this approach.

CCHQ Spy is wholly correct to suggest that David Cameron's views fully subscribe to the AND THEORY.

I am becoming increasingly annoyed by the many party members, including some of those who voted for Cameron, who are failing to apply the AND test to some of the ideas that are emerging from the leadership. Moreover, this hot-headed bleating from some, is playing right into the hands of those leftists in the media who wish to drive a wedge between the leadership and the party in the country.

Living in urban Birmingham, I have been a victim of anti-social behaviour, and I feel well-placed to apply Cameron's draft descriptions to the problems I see daily. Yes, people do possess vengeful feelings towards those who attack them and damage their property, but they also want the unwanted behaviour to stop, and whether we like it or not, a "tough love" approach is what is needed and it needs to be applied to both parents and unruly children.

When we are in government, we shall have to implement our manifesto pledges in this sphere 100%. There is a disaster that has been unfolding on our streets for years and Labour have done absolutely nothing about it. Now of course they acknowledge it, but have no coherent prescription to deal with the problem, as one expect from a government riven by division and rancour.

New Labour's Blunkettesque approach to tackling our social ills are short-term slogans and nothing else. I am for one amazed that the hapless and incompetent Tony McNulty should even think commenting about a speech that no one has even heard.

So a plea to the party, get off Cameron's back for a while, and let him and his team devise the RIGHT policies that will solve our problems AND make this country a better place for all.

If the leadership were not generating such proposals, we'd still get pilloried by the media class. So let's be patient and allow the leader we elected the time and space to "lead".


""We - the people in suits - often see hoodies as aggressive, the uniform of a rebel army of young gangsters. But hoodies are more defensive than offensive. They're a way to stay invisible in the street. In a dangerous environment the best thing to do is keep your head down, blend in."

Rubbish, its copying American black Gangsta culture and a way of hiding your face from CCTV. This bit of his speech is crap.

But the rest is right:
"Of course people who commit crime should be held responsible," he said.

"But I think people want their politicians to ask the question: 'What is it that brought that young person to commit that crime at that time?....

...."If you're ill, it's no good putting a sticking plaster on it. You've got to get to the bottom of the illness.

....we'll find it's about family breakdown, it's about drugs, it's about alcohol abuse, often it's young people who are brought up in care when they should be in loving homes.

"Let's now deal with those problems. That doesn't mean at the same we can't be tough when a crime is committed."

....The public doesn't want the police to give them learned lectures in sociology or criminology aimed at explaining why high levels of crime are inevitable or intractable or otherwise impossible to deal with," he will say.....

...."They want the police to be crime fighters, not form writers. They want the police to be a force as well as a service."

So DC wants the Tory party to do more to tackle drugs, family breakdown, alcohol abuse, and remove police paperwork, make the police a "force". He was also talking about elected chief constables on the TV this morning.

I can live with that!

"But Labour has criticised Mr Cameron's line, calling it a "hug a hoodie" plan."

And the Labour spin machine chalks up another victory over people who dont actually read.

Rubbish, its copying American black Gangsta culture and a way of hiding your face from CCTV. This bit of his speech is crap.

Hoodies are an effective "disguise" for a minority of young people. It's certainly true that some young (and older!) people have caught on that if there's a group of you in the dark, all wearing identical black hoodies, you are practically impossible to identify on CCTV or indeed any other way.

However, I doubt the majority of hoodie-wearers realise this or have even thought about it. Indeed, many hoodies are emo/rock/punk-rock kids who are about as far removed from gangsta culture as you can get!

Ted - yes I do think CCHQ has spun this line about being nice to hoodies. All the media are carrying the same message. Now it may be that they are colluding in the approach they take the DC's comments, but what is more likely as journalists are notoriously lazy is that they take the line spun and print it.

This really is a bad piece of media management and brand building. Irrespective of whether you agree with the message or not it has been very very poorly managed.

Thanks Jon Gale.Camerons speeches both to the CSJ and the police seem to make more sense looking at the BBC website than they did when reading the print media yesterday and today.Who was responsible for the 'pre speech spin?'.If it was the Labour party ,well, that's to be expected.If it was our 'spinners' then I suggest they find another career they are no good at this one!

Remember that horrid footage on the telly where a medical student was stabbed? It was on a few weeks ago. They were not wearing hoodies. Like the idea of trying to walk with a swagger, hoodies are an attempt to act tough. So long as Cameron is not suggesting a softening on treating crime, then the idea of prevention through better upbringing programs would be a fairly smart idea.

Once again whether intentionally or not Cameron makes it harder for me to support the Tory party. The Tory leadership are obsessed with image and soundbites in order to garner votes. If they think appearance is so important we are entitled to measure them on it rather than looking at any detail (of which we all know there is very little with project Cameron). I'll let Cameron into a secret. The reason there is so much yobbishness and violent crime about is because the malefactors know they can get away with it. It is as simple as that. You can forget almost everything else.

Did Cameron have a chat with Theodore Dalrymple ?

It only seems like yesterday I was watching Edwina Currie, brandishing a pair of handcuffs in the Law and Order debate at a Conservative Party conference. Of course we now know what she used to use them for.
I can't beleve some of the stuff I'm reading here. A few days ago if you asked the average Tory what he/she thought of hoodies, it would have been:stick 'em in the army, or flog 'em, red hot poker up the rectum etc.

The beloved leader comes down from the mountain top, with the eleventh commandment: 'Thou shalt love all hoodies as thyself'. And the party hacks are falling over themselves to agree. The physco-babble starts to pour out, as if there was no tomorrow.

Blair and Co must be laughing their socks off, Hitchens/Heffer/Littlejohn can't wait to hear what they will say. What an own goal!

Hug a Hoody?

What a pointless, gutless, red-top feeding moment. No wonder the public uis bored with politicians.

Why not start with some facts, not feelings.

Our school system has failed because the Left won the control of the Curriculum, removed scholarships and grammar schools for working class kids and took away respect for teachers.Ending the social mobility I benefitted from.

We failed in power to arrest the rot, take on the academics and unions and spend effectively on education. We paid peanuts and ended-up with Guardian reading monkeys.

The family system has collapsed, because the Left was allowed to erode its base and attack its values. We failed by removing the tax advantages of staying together and promoting social policies that would make this more likely.

Our Society has been undermined, because the Left was allowed to deconstruct our history, values and cohesiveness. Crime has flourished because the Left has portrayed the perpetrator as the victim and the victim as “petty bourgeois”.

There has been widespread failure to promote positive societal vales since the Wilson government and our Post-war media-led intellectuals attacked and destroyed responsibility across all social classes by making any form of behaviour acceptable.

Today our media, commentators and leaders talk " Values", but think relativistically.

We equip our country's children for nothing,give them no means to escape poverty, trap them in Brown's Benefitland and then deny them even the most basic employment by importing cheap labour from around the world.

They will continue to slip via despair and neglect for as long as we let "Experts" make livings from inventing counter-intuitive strategies and marketing them to gullible politicians and civil servants.

Failure will not be solved by empty words. Lets have clear, costed policy addressing the needs of the disenfranchised, coupled to the rights of those of us who will have to pay taxes to put things right.

As for the police force, let them get on with their job by putting them back on the street. Break the PC stick that the Left has used to beat them. At heart, we know they just want to do their best.

If we are not careful, “Hugging hoodies” stands to be Cameron’s “Baseball cap” moment.

Please stop trying to find a social democratic middle ground - Blair has.

Well said, Chris.

Cameron is either posturing r out of touch or I feel more likley both.

And another thing, there is a difference between the days of mods and rockers, skinheads and more recently punks. In those days the police could easily sort out any trouble caused by those who deliberately sought to break the law. Now the police have one if not two hands tied behind their backs.The yobs know that and we know that which of itself can make their behaviour and appearance the more intimidating.


Nick Robinson points out "Hug a Hoodie" was a Labour counter spin - effective because people then make up their minds before looking at what DC says.

Seems to me that today DC was going to make two speeeches, one at Social Justice convention about our response to youth and the other about freeing the polices hands and letting them concentrate on crime solving & reduction.

So what do you find so obnoxious in what he proposes? - should we let the social conditions continue to breed violent, disenchanted groups? should there be no second chance?, no attempts to strengthen families? or perhaps you are against reducing the paperwork police need to deal with and giving police more local accountability?

I think there has been a good deal of over-reaction on what I think was a genuine attempt by DC to reach out to young people. On first hearing about the speech, my reaction was "what nonsense" - but on reflection I can see the point that was being made. I suspect most kids wear hoodies because all their mates do - it's fashion pure and simple - but I am certainly under no illusions that there are many who have different motives.
I have seen reports in the media that over the summer holidays children are going to be removed by the police if they gather in groups after 9 pm in certain areas. If this is true then Labour is certainly not proving itself to be a friend of young people - perhaps there is a gap there which the Conservatives can fill?


Time and again Cameron seems to seek publicity and when he does so it appears to be done in a in a way deliberately calculated to position himself as far away from what I consider to be the views of traditional orthodox conservative voters. If you are suggesting this is not the case and that he is in this instance a victim of Labour counter spin, I suggest he dispenses with the spin and sticks to the substance.

I do not agree with your contention that social conditions are necessarily responsible for the rise in crime and yobishness. When the Tories were in power Labour blamed crime on the economy. That did not wash then nor does it wash now given the relatively benign economic situation we have had since the mid 90s. Of course I accept there is a social component in all this and yes I do believe in second chances. But no amount of fluffiness or taxpayers money will be sufficient to reverse the damage wrought by decades of cultural revolution which has resulted in a situation where teenage yobs feel free to threaten my octgenarian WW2 veteran father in broad daylight. I suspect I know what they need and understanding is not at the top of my list. We have been trying the fluffy approach since the 60s and it did not work.

The internet connection seems to be rather reluctant for me to post here...I shall keep it short.

I dont like this. It suggests that criminals should have an excuse because of their backgrounds. The reaction from a Thanet based website shows this policy will be rather unpopular and that slogan "Hug a Hoodie" will stick like sleaze to a Government Minister.

Camerons messed up again. He must do better. Hes alienating his core support, who would normally come out and vote Tory because they are conservative. I dont think the Conservatives are centre right anymore. I think they are plain centre, if not centre left. I really do and its depressing...

Just watched Cameron do his Hoodie thing

It could be a Caine Mutiny scenario here.
Might be an idea to get Lieut.Cmdr. Davis out of his bunk, the Captain's gone mad!!
Better get him of the bridge, before the ship hits the rocks.

Having spent today at the conference and heard the cases made by experts, healthcare professionals, reformed offenders and the voluntary sector I am very depressed by some of the reaction to this CSJ event and David Cameron’s comments.

We can all understand that if prison worked, we’d be pulling them down. Instead we have record numbers in prison and a re-offending rate of up to 80%. It is estimated that the cost of keeping a 19 year old in prison is £170,000 per annum. I believe there are compassionate reasons for not giving up on “yobs” but, those aside, it is a fool with my money who suggests that we should carry on with a single solution that is clearly failing. We have to take onboard the experience and advice of people who work day-in day-out to solve the problems that pervert an innocent child to a perpetual criminal.

Well said, Mark. For those of us who weren't lucky enough to have been there today, I urge you to watch the speech on the BBC website. It is the very opposite of headline grabbing - it is all about acting for the long-term and not taking easy solutions.

We can all understand that if prison worked, we’d be pulling them down.

That's a peculiar logic giving great insight into your mindset.

Pursuing the analogy we can stop treating cancer in the NHS because we have so many dying of cancer, treatment is therefore futile.

Schools should be abolished judging by the increasing ignorance of British society

We don't need to waste money on AIDS treatment because infection rates are increasing.

No point in bothering about alcoholism because it is increasing.

No reason not to deregulate weapons ownership because murder rates are increasing as is gun crime.

*smashes head into brick wall repeatedly*

What I just love about this whole situation is the fact that even Tories are swallowing Labour spin here. The newspapers are merely printing "Hug a Hoodie" because it makes a catchy title, and it grabs attention as being something people wouldn't ever consider doing. I wouldn't be suprised if some people decided they were against this policy as soon as they head "Hug a Hoodie", as opposed to actually reading more about what it entails.

As CCHQ spy said earlier on this is a brilliant example of the "AND principle", Cameron has announced £15 Billion of New Prisons AND greater voluntary sector work with troubled youths.

But that's the point Chris, the AND principle has been subdued by the spin. Elsewhere Ted quotes Nick Robinson (former YC)of the BBC saying the Hug a Hoodie imagery is Labour spin. Absolute rubbish. Every paper, every media outlet adopted the same position, even those media who are favourable towards us. This is CCHQ spin gone badly wrong.

The understanding for young alienated youth should have been a secondary message in the speech, but because of the repositioning project it is given centre stage. All this has achieved is not the more probing "tough on the causes of crime" message sought but rather just ridicule.

Aye, it is most likely bad spin on our part, but i don't feel that means that Tory posters on this site should assume the bad spin is actually whats being proposed. If Blair says the sky is pink and all the newspapers print it, is it true?

Maybe in future the AND principle needs to be applied in one speech, so that we announce the hard right wing stance and the nice fluffy one side by side. We get less headlines that way, but at least they would all be positive!

A lot of dreadful youth crime might cease if kitchen knives had rounded ends - it used to be the case. Not easy to stab if all knives had blunted ends.

Further it would help if alcohol was NOT sold in super markets. Alcohol in pubs and wine shops is much less likely to get into the hands of the wrong people.

That's a peculiar logic giving great insight into your mindset.

TomTom (aka Rick, for surely it is you in a slinky disguise), when I wrote that “if prison worked, we’d be pulling them down” I was repeating what was said yesterday by Trevor Philpott OBE (Director, Life Change UK formerly C-FAR) and closely paraphrasing Sir David Ramsbotham (Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons 1995-2001). I would rather be of their mindset than yours (note no apostrophe).

Your list doesn’t pursue the analogy at all. Everything in your list learns from its results in the search of more effective strategies. By contrast, my whole point was that for prisons we’re sticking with a system that delivers an 80% re-offending rate when it has been demonstrated that other approaches can achieve 40%.

Betty, as nice a world as it might be but "The Rounded End Knife Act of 2009" might just be interpreted as being a tad nanny-state-ish.

As for not selling alcohol in a supermarket, I don't see how this would help in any way at all. Most businesses subscribe to the idea of if you look under 21 then you are asked for an ID. There are serious fines for selling to a minor (And some of these are aimed directly at the person who sold the alcohol, meaning the little old lady on £6 an hour might end up saddled with a nasty fine) so sales to minors have dropped.

“Hug a hoodie” shows that new Labour still doesn’t understand why it is wrong to demonise a large chunk of our community for something so irrelevant as what they wear.


Those of us with more than a basic passing knowledge of Spin know there is never an AND in media communication. The soundbite and print quote must to straight to the point.

The And is the edit point of the package.

I knew that when I launched Carlton TV in the 1990's and nothing has changed since...

Many of us simply do not have the time to locate the original speech. I am an ordinary person, with a 'job', not a 'career'. I am not interested in the intellectual debates of the chattering classes from the safety of their London wine bars. I understand that you have to deal with causes of crime: but that will take a whole generation, if not two. What I want to hear is how Mr Cameron proposes to deal with the effects of the breakdown of society. My sentiments are as follows.

(As posted on

http://5thnovember.blogspot.com/2006/07/hoodies-policy-adam-smith-institute.html )

What is this man [Cameron] on? When will he have the courage to address the root of the problem? Selfish, amoral behaviour leading to the complete breakdown of the family.

Of course youngsters need love - the love of two adult parents (1 male, 1 female, preferably the birth parents) who are committed to making their relationship work, and who have exercised sufficient discipline throughout the child's life so that they don't end up hanging about on street corners with their mates, high on drugs or lighter fuel, and knifing passers-by for the fun of it.

It is precisely because of the self-centred, amoral behaviour of at least two generations of parents that we are in this sorry mess. I recall what I believe to be a statement by Winston Churchill (though I cannot trace it):

"Those who will not be motivated by love must be constrained by fear."

It is precisely the absence of any fear of being caught, let alone of any retribution, that has contributed to the "gangs of feral youths" that make ordinary peoples' lives so unbearable. Do we have to wait until outraged residents start lynching the low life before the political class wake up and smell the coffee?

Anony-rodent, you criticise David Cameron for what he didn’t say, yet you admit that you don’t know what he said!

To set you straight, David Cameron was very clear about the need for strong enforcement of clear boundaries to acceptable behaviour. In fact, so much so that I was worried about the potential reaction of the largely liberal audience and panel (such as Camila Batmanghelidjh, Dr Felicty De Zulueta, Professor Hilton Davies and Femi Oyeniran).

You’ll also be pleased to hear that he did talk about the role of the family (although I can’t see any way that policy can cause families to work).

Mark July 11 at 12:29.

Thank you for your response. I have printed off the speech to read, will do some digging on the CSJ, and try to give more measured response later.


Mark July 11 at 12:29.

Thank you for your response. I have printed off the speech to read, will do some digging on the CSJ, and try to give more measured response later.


I think the family comments came up in the Q&A so aren't in the transcript. They were very similar to the comments he made in his previous speech to the CSJ.

But Mark, the positive comments that we all welcome, which try to address some of the issues that lead to the alienation of youths and the consequent wearing of hoodies, are all lost in the spin of the speech.

Incidently I was walking through Birkenhead today and saw a group of young lads with pit bulls looking very menacing and encouraging the dogs to fight each other. I'm no dog lover but it was seriously intimidating. When are the police going to enforce the Dangerous Dogs Act? Or should I have gone over and asked them if it was a lack of love in the parental home that was making those lads act like that?

Mark July 11 at 12:29.

I am writing to apologise for my intemperate remarks based on very limited information.

To my shame I went googling with the preconception that the "Centre for Social Justice" was some left-of-centre advocacy group staffed by PC humanists to a person (of unspecified gender).

Imagine my surprise and embarrassment to find after some searching on www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk that 3 of the 4 trustees were IDS, Oliver Letwin and David Willets! (The website is very reticent about saying exactly who the are or what they stand for.)

Having read Mr Cameron's speech in the light of his intended audience (an organization that supports voluntary organisations, many of which have explicitly Christian foundations), I can now see why he said what he did.

Unfortunately, such long-term unsung work doesn't make for good soundbytes.

As Jonatahn Mackie points out above, the underlying (reasonable) message(s) in the speech have been lost in the dreadful spin/PR job done by CCHQ (and exploited perfectly by the Labour spin machine).

Cameron's one real job was in PR so he should know how these things work.

As the FT points out today, Labour's campaign team must be looking forward to having Cameron followed by a load of Labour workers in hoodies, with "I need a hug" printed on them. It will take Cameron a long time to live this one down.

There is no reason why David Cameron should be particularly adept at spin.He's not experinced in tabloid media relations.The central function of the Head of PR at Carlton plc was to say "no comment", "we do not comment on" or " We neither confirm, nor deny". Financial in-house PR is very different to what I was doing at Carlton TV.

We dealt with the day to day joys of Margie Clarkes " Good Sex Guide" and September Films, "Hollywood Women"; dreadful, cheap drama and tabloid trash pretending to be social comment like " Special Babies " - immensely fat people having babies; Blues and Twos"- early police video action and "London Tonight" the grim early evening news programme that worked on the news desk addage that " If it bleeds, it leads...".

Thats real PR training for modern Britain, not Plc "No Comment".

I am pleased that the debate surrounding young people and crime is at long last engaging a wider section of society. Equally, I have been dismayed by the lack of awareness and understanding of such issues. Considerable negative and emotional talk is being generated regarding what is increasingly one of the most serious social issues facing our country.

As I have already been quoted on this site as one of the 10 July CSJ conference speakers, I thought I would take the opportunity to point readers to our web site - www.lifechangeuk.com and a copy of my presentation which can be found on our media page. Regrettably, the issues surrounding youth crime and anti-social behaviour are complex. I therefore respectfully request that those who are currently set on refusing to listen to what DC and IDS are attempting to do, please pause for a moment and reflect. The botom line is simple - if we keep doing the same things, we must expect to see the same outcomes. If we want to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, we must start to do things differently.

Wearing a hoodie is fine!

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